July 06, 2005

Members of the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus have approved a name change for the organization. As of Aug. 2, the Washington, D.C.-based group will become the Destination Marketing Association International. All member organizations were sent one ballot each on June 1, and given 30 days to cast their votes. According to IACVB, more than 80 percent of the ballots it received were in favor of the name change. A two-thirds majority of the votes received was required for passage.

A settlement has been reached between officials at San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit train system and two of its largest employee unions, Service Employees International Union 790 and the Amalgamated Transit Union 1555. The agreement averted a strike that would have begun this morning.

Trade shows have bounced back to pre-2000 levels, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research. CEIR has released initial numbers from its 2004 Exhibition Industry Index, which focuses on the business-to-business sector of the exhibition industry in the United States and Canada, showing net square footage jumped from an index value of 102.3 in 2003 to 109.6 in 2004. (Index values are based on the number 100, which was the level of activity in the year 2000.) Other gains came in professional attendance, at 103.8, and the number of exhibiting companies, at 103.3. "The return to pre-2000 numbers is a striking sign of sustained recovery," said Doug Ducate, president/CEO of CEIR. Complete results of the CEIR Index will be announced Sept. 13.

In an effort to help U.S. meeting planners grasp standards and customs abroad, the Convention Industry Council has released the first edition of its International Manual as a supplement to the CIC Manual, 7th Edition. Certified Meeting Professional exams will feature questions based on the International Manual beginning in January. In related news, CIC announced yesterday that Thomas M. Mobley Jr., general manager and CEO of the Washington Convention Center, was named chair of the CIC's board of directors on June 20. Mobley succeeds Michael J. Bandy, who stepped down as chair when he left the Trade Show Exhibitors Association.

The Marriott New Orleans at the Convention Center opens next Monday. Across the street from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the 331-room hotel occupies a 150-year-old cotton warehouse. On site will be 24,000 square feet of meeting space, a restaurant, a pool and a gym.

The Isle of Capri Biloxi completed an $80 million expansion on June 30 and now offers 750 rooms, up from 367. Also new at the Mississippi property is a 12,000-square-foot ballroom with a stage; the property now has a total of 35,000 square feet of meeting space. The pool was expanded, too, and now features an upper level with a waterfall. In the fall, the property will replace the existing casino barge, which has 32,000 square feet of gaming space, with a barge almost twice its size.

The Grand Hyatt DFW at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport opened Friday. The 298-room hotel is connected to the airport's new International Terminal D, which opens later this month. The new hotel offers 34,000 square feet of meeting space.